CHATHAM – The observation deck at the fish pier was closed Monday after a support post was damaged by a fork lift.
Wharfinger Michael Ryder secured the deck and shut down access by the public after being informed of the incident by Red's Best, one of the two tenants that lease the packing building.
In an email, Ryder said the deck would be closed until the damage can be properly repaired.
Plans are in the works to completely replace the observation deck, which has had structural problems for several years now; it was closed in 2013 for safety reasons.
Officials earlier this year approved a $1 million plan to replace the deck, including the addition of a second set of stairs and a small elevator in order to comply with accessibility rules. After the community preservation committee rejected a request for $400,000 for the project, officials said it would move ahead anyway and they would investigate other sources of funding, including an $11 million waterfront infrastructure bond approved in 2017.
The closure came as the summer season ends; on Monday morning, there was noticeably fewer people at the pier. Without access to the observation deck – a popular spot for watching fishermen offload their catch and the seals that frolic around the pier – visitors gathered along the north jog, where fishing boats and Coast Guard vessels dock.
This story is developing and will be updated as more information becomes available.